The Life of Daniel

Dr. Stephen Phinney


But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8, NASB).

Many years ago, God told my mother-in-law that I was destined to be a preacher of the end times. Keep in mind that I barely knew how to read when she said that, let alone stand in a pulpit to preach. I kindly smiled in disbelief. Then she gave me books and resources on the eschatological elements of the Bible, which included Dr. Charles Hoff, Oliver Greene, Charles Layman, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, and a host of others. Talk about a fish out of water. Since I trusted her implicitly, I carefully treasured these resources throughout my life. It took me a few years to pick up these books and read them, primarily, because I had to learn to read. When I did, though, a new world opened to this frail, dependent mind of mine. When I look at my life today, and the works that pour forth from my hands, I see the prophetic nudging of my precious mother-in-law. I am eternally grateful for this traditional Dutch woman and her obedience to the Lord’s prophecies.

A mentor of mine once said these words to me: “God is about to do great and mighty things through you.” While you would think that I’d be excited, I was not. It promoted my childhood flesh pattern of fear. This mentor, a conservative Baptist pastor, then laid hands on me and prayed a bold prayer of release. It was as if someone had poured a bucket of warm water over my entire body. I got up from this experience, and without hesitation, I began speaking Hebrew. Both of us were amazed. I studied Hebrew first, Greek second, Latin third, and then English from that day forward. This is how I studied the book of Daniel.

You see, my love for the book of Daniel erupted out of necessity. I had a gift within my mortal soul where I viewed all of life through the prophetic elements of the Holy Scriptures. I couldn’t deny it. I was unable to stop it. And it consumed my worldview 24-hours a day.